How to Play Horse (the Basketball Game)

Horse is a really fun game that every basketball player or kid with a backyard hoop can enjoy. Horse is a basketball shooting game where players take turns shooting at the hoop from different locations. If someone makes a shot but everyone else misses, those people get a letter toward the word ‘HORSE’. The last person left standing wins! Get your best trick shots ready because horse is a great chance to show them off! You’ll need at least two players, but there’s no limit to the number of players who can join in.

Steps

Method 1 Method 1 of 2:Establishing the Basic Rules

How to Play Horse (the Basketball Game)

Decide on an order of play. You can play horse with two or more players but you must agree on an order for who plays first, then second, and so on. Try flipping a coin or playing rock, paper, scissors to figure out who gets to choose the order.

  • If you can’t decide, take turns shooting from the same spot. The first person to make a basket can choose their position. Continue this process until the order has been sorted.

Start with the first player taking a shot at the hoop. The first player can take a shot from anywhere on the court or even from out of bounds! They can add “extra rules” to this shot too, but they have to announce them before shooting.

  • For example, the player can say “I’m shooting with my eyes closed” or “I’m shooting behind my back.” They get one attempt to make the basket.
  • If a rule is called and the player succeeds in shooting the ball in but they don’t satisfy all the rules of the shot they stated, the shot doesn’t count.

Let the next player attempt to either match the shot or create a new one. The second player in the order is now given the opportunity to shoot. They either have to create a new shot or attempt to copy the shot that was just made by the player in front of them.

  • If the first player made a basket then the second player has to copy whatever the first player did, including where they were standing.
  • If the first player missed the basket then the second player can shoot from anywhere, using any rules they want to invent.

Keep playing through and attempting new shots. Whenever it’s your turn, if the person before you made a basket, you have to copy their shot exactly. If the person before you missed, it’s your turn to invent a new shot.

  • The order works in a loop so once the final player has taken their shot, the ball goes back to the first player.

Get a letter when you fail a shot challenge. If someone attempts the shot made by the person before them and they miss the basket, they get the letter H. Each time someone makes this mistake, they get a new letter, eventually spelling out H—O—R—S—E. When you spell out the full “HORSE,” you lose the game.

  • When attempting a shot after a letter has been given, you do not receive a letter for missing. If you miss the basket, play just passes to the next player with no penalty.
  • You can also play so that a player gains a letter each time everyone else fails a challenge. In this version, the first to get the word ‘HORSE’ wins.

Invent a new shot if everyone succeeds. If you invent a shot, and every other player successfully makes the basket, you get to invent a new shot.

  • Here, it’s a great idea to try and make the shots more challenging if everyone made the shot the first time around.

Play until there’s one person left. When someone spells out the word “HORSE” with their letters, that player leaves the game. The other players keep playing in the same order but skip the eliminated player’s turn.

  • Eventually there will be one player left in the game after everyone else has been eliminated. This person is the winner.

Method 2 Method 2 of 2:Creating Interesting Shots


Take a no-look shot. If things are a bit too easy and no one is receiving letters, you can kick things up a notch by attempting some crazy shots. One of the best ways to start this off is with a no-look shot.

  • To get this shot in, take a good look at the hoop and visualize where you plan on shooting the ball before you close your eyes.
  • If you manage to get it in, you’ll have a very high chance of putting a letter on your opponents.

Shoot while sitting down. This shot is really difficult because you use your lower body to assist you when you shoot normally. This means that when sitting down, the only power you can get is from your arms.

  • There isn’t a whole lot you can do to give yourself a better chance of shooting it in here, simply aim for a nice regular arc, and use the backboard.

Perform a behind-the-back shot. This shot is fairly straightforward to attempt, but very difficult to succeed at. With one arm, wrap the ball around your back and flick it up towards the hoop.

  • Try and use your legs to assist you in getting some power for this shot as otherwise you are only using your hands/arms and it becomes even more difficult.

Try shooting with the opposite hand. Most people favor one hand over the other and this trick shot tests your ability with your weaker hand. Set up like you normally would and give your best attempt, but it’s usually very difficult!

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